Another example of a movie that borders the line between PG and PG-13 is The Work and the Glory: American Zion, which is rated PG-13.  There is actually extremely little offensive content in the movie–mostly dark thematic elements and brief violence.  There is no profanity or innuendo.  In fact the MPAA said it would have been rated PG except for the fact that a character the audience has come to care about, Joseph Smith, is a victim of the violence.  Scott Swoford, who produced all three Work and the Glory films, as well as the films shown in the Legacy Theater on Temple Square (Legacy, Testaments, Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration) said the Church movies he produced are much more violent and bloody than American Zion

However, many LDS families still refused to see the movie solely because it was rated PG-13 and “our family doesn’t watch PG-13 movies–no exceptions.”  So many members of the Church missed out on a beautiful and spiritual film about the prophet Joseph Smith that tastefully hinted at some of the violence that took place in that period of history.  Because of this, the final movie in the Work and the Glory trilogy was edited to make sure it would be PG.  It is readily apparent that certain violent scenes were shortened because of this.  The movie was still great, but it could have had even more impact if the audience had supported the addition of some of the darker material. 

These movies are a prime example of why ratings sometimes just don’t matter.  They are very important as an initial warning that there could be objectionable content, but it’s also important that we realize a PG-13 movie about Joseph Smith is probably much more uplifting and worthwhile than the Pokemon movie, even if it is rated G. 

American Zion


No Country For Old Men

December 6, 2007


Well, it’s sad to say, but I was convinced to see this R rated movie by some friends and some really great reviews. No Country For Old Men is a Coen Brothers movie. If you don’t know some of the other movies they’ve directed, here are a few: Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou, and The Big Lebowski.

 This movie is set in the early 1980s in West Texas. A psychopathic killer is looking for a briefcase full of almost two million dollars, while a local man, who found the money after stumbling onto a drug deal gone bad, is trying to make sure he’s not discovered. The majority of the movie deals with the man who found the money trying to get away from the killer. This plot line is a return to the dark, noir themes which have provided the Coens with some of their most successful material. There is a style of comedy present in the film, but not as strongly as their other films. There is a very subtle comedic element throughout the movie, but if you’re looking for a good laugh, you might need to look elsewhere.  As much as this sounds like I’m trying to justify myself for watching an R rated movie, I thought this movie was done quite tastefully. There was no nudity and hardly any language in it; I’ve heard worse in PG-13 movies. There was a significant amount of violence, but I guess for me nudity is more offensive than violence. However, both nudity and violence are offensive.  

After watching this movie I was a little surprised at the rating, to be honest. This led me to think that many directors and producers have been adding certain elements to their movies in order to get an R rating. I don’t know if producers believe that their movies will be more credible if they have a higher rating, or if they want to attract an “R-rated audience.” Either way, I find this to be a slightly disturbing trend. Hollywood seems to place more importance on R rated movies so more directors and producers are making them. Good movies, such as this one, could quite easily be made PG-13, but won’t because the R supposedly makes them better. What will make producers move away from R-rated movies?